Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

The Future Sound Of London - Far-Out Son Of Lung & The Ramblings Of A Madman

The Future Sound Of London
Far-Out Son Of Lung & The Ramblings Of A Madman


Released 1995 on Virgin Records
Reviewed by Jim Tones, 24/06/2006ce


In the late 1980s and early 1990s, there were similar creative audio rumblings throughout the globe as there were a decade or so before,
with all manner of bedroom, basement and garage bound folk, conjuring up all manner of sonic creations via a healthy DIY ethic, which was filtered through the new technology of the time.

Taking a cue from the 'dance/techno' perspective, there were many people churning out virtually the same sound or variation on one over-used idea. As with any type of 'wave', there will always be a good percentage of band-wagon jumpers that are hell-bent on the goldrush of such times.

No strangers to electronic musics and certainly dabbling a fair few years before they released anything, Garry Cobain and Brian Dougans seemed to have something slightly 'detached' from everything else on the agenda, even when releasing a long list of vinyls under many different names (Humanoid, Smart Systems, Mental Cube to name a few).

Then they found their true ground with The Future Sound Of London (aka FSOL ).
Ever the mavericks, they've never been too partial to all the exposure and interview / features during the rise of the 'glossy' music mags in the 1990s.
They once featured in The Wire magazine's 'Invisible Jukebox', where artists are put through the tests to guess what tracks they were being played, I can't remember any details, but I just remember at the time of reading that Dougans and Cobain certainly weren't without a good sense of humour!

Back in the early 1990s, things really started to take off when they released "Papua New Guinea", which soon had fellow innovators like Andrew Weatherall and Graham Massey lending their skills to produce some remixes.

The debut "Accelerator" album surfaced in 1992, then two years later they released the excellent "Lifeforms" album, which rose very high in the album charts of the time.
They then clicked up a notch even futher out with the next album "ISDN".

This 'Far-Out Son Of Lung...' release, was a neat little EP consisting of four cuts from the previous album. I'm not copping out here by reviewing an EP!. It's just that if anyone out there hasn't ventured into the FSOL world. Then this is a great place to start.

First track "Far-Out...." decends into your head from above with the great sample- "everyone on line?....looking good..." before breaking into a solid drumbeat and heavy anchorage by a bulging one-note bass line. A muted trumpet flutters overhead as it deals with a cloud of whirring synths, melting orchestrations and little bites of crunched guitar. If I was a cab driver, I'd have this blasting out while doing my duties! I don't think you'd get many 'runners', as the music is really hypnotic and intense at the same time.

"Snake Hips" settles things down, or so you think, then you are transported to yet another plateau where the percussives shuffle steadily along, while saxes, flutes and half-hidden sounds enter it's atmosphere.
They have the abilty to turn the intensity on and off .
Just when the track seems to settle into a nice level, you hear the glimpses of the deranged horn and percussive sounds from 23 Skidoo (which the FSOL chaps duly credited on the sleeve, nice touch that).
There's also a great bit where you hear a sample of a woman's operatic voice that never fails to send shivers up the ol' spine.

"Smokin' Japanese Babe" is a down-tempo affair, utilising 'acoustic bass loops' from the John Williams album 'Cavatina' (the track is also featured on the Williams album 'Changes' with the Stanley Myers orch. ).
Starting with some 'Twin Peaks' style dreamy guitar chords, the bass loops and dreamy percussion set the pace for that marvellous muted trumpet sound, together with the sound of a lapping seashore, this shows that FSOL can really get into relaxed mode without meandering and making you fall asleep.
Many people would find what I'm about to say absurd, but I really think that had Miles Davis lived on, he could have made a great album with FSOL.
I can almost hear the guffaws of laughter, but I'm sticking by what I say (!) it really would have been a great collaboration.
Besides, I'm suprised they haven't worked with Jon Hassell before now.

"Ameoba" rounds of the EP.
It's back to some reverbed solid beats, but you are pulled back into the stupor of the previous tracks by the hovering background sounds, finally coming to a close with some briefly tweaked reversed glitching.

FSOL also have another project running in tandem under the name Amorphous Androgynous, which have now transformed into a vehicle which seems to travel across quite a spectrum of sound with some suprising results, far removed from the duos first releases.

Any place, is a good place to jump into FSOL, but if you want to dip your toes in, then maybe this is the release to serve you.

Enjoy!!


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